Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

From Patches to Magic Glasses

"Her vision overall is good," said the eye doctor.

It was our latest visit with him with Bryce, and he went on to tell us that her close-up vision is pretty normal, but it's her long-distance eyesight that struggles and when her left eye wanders out. That's when the brain-eye wiring shuts down on that side, what we need to correct.

So from patches to magic glasses Bryce goes. She continues to struggle with exotropia, a vision problem where one eye migrates outward and binocular vision can be difficult. Wearing an eye patch for one hour each day for a few months helped a little, but not enough.

We were worried about her actually wearing the glasses. After an initial fitting the Mama brought Bryce home with her new peepers and the initial reaction was "no."

As in, "I don't want glasses!"

That's why we dubbed them magic glasses, and in a sense they are -- lovely little pink frames with transition lenses that darken in sunlight that will hopefully eventually help strengthen that left eye.

The morning after we brought the glasses home, the idea was to have Beatrice wear the magic glasses so that when Bryce woke up, she'd immediately want her glasses back. And that's exactly what happened.

"My glasses!"

Right on. So far, she's never looked back (or "looked" better). Thank goodness it didn't take a long time for her to fully acclimate. Yes, she fights a little here and there, but the key is that they're helping her see better, and she's "seeing that the more she wears them. The Mama had to get the glasses adjusted one more time to fit tighter around her ears and on her nose and lose the head strap, but her magical specs are now spectacular.

Add that to the fact that both girls love throwing rocks and playing with big trucks and now we have an unconventional yet formidable combination.

Look out world.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The First-Time Disney Win

Imagine walking into a seemingly quiet and comfortable well-lit room.

Then imagine turning on everything in the room all at once: computers, tablets, phones, stereos, TVs, appliances, anything that makes noise when activated.

Then imagine cranking up the volume and speed on each of them all at once while dozens and dozens of people flood the room as well talking loudly with one another and generally just whooping it up.

Then imagine that there's no immediate no way of turning any of them off and no way of discriminating the dissonance.

I imagine you'd most likely want to get the hell out of there. Reminds me of my panic attacks of old.

Unfortunately this is what life has been like for Beatrice since early on (called auditory processing disorder, which is a big-bucket spectrum disorder that's not fully understood).

So you can only imagine what it was like the moment we passed the Disney Pearly Gates with both Bea and Bryce for the first time. It freaked Bea out. And with good reason. It can freak out any child (or adult) without any processing challenges. She didn't run, though. Not literally. Just more a "deer in headlights," fingers in ears and wanting to leave. After the first 30 minutes she warmed up nicely, adapted accordingly, and was ready to go for the Disney gold.

Her coping has improved dramatically since turning three, starting preschool and now in pre-K (next year starting kindergarten), loving to socialize with all her friends, loving her teachers, and going to speech and occupational therapy. She's learned to adapt and adjust more regularly, something I wish I could've done as a young adult through my 20's, spending way too many years allowing anxiety to crush my very soul.

Plus, she's smart as a frickin' whip.

But the noise and inability to filter and process quickly is still overwhelming to her sometimes and that's when Bea plugs her ears and wants to bolt. I felt bad because my expectations for both girls at Disneyland slightly exceeded the reality of how at least one-half would feel.

The good news is that they both had a ball no matter the moments Bea battled, and that's what the Mama and me counted on. Bea's come a long way, baby. Bryce? Well, she is and has been more adventurous to date, boldly riding more rides with the Mama and me than her older sister. Either way it was a first-time Disney win for the girls.

What was it like for us you ask? Besides being a little tired from awkward shared hotel room sleep, hiking all over the parks while pushing the girls along in their "limo" stroller and the Mama carrying Bryce (they did walk as well, but not the entire time), eating too much junk food and dealing with individualized meltdowns -- it was magical.

It really, really was.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Crossing the Disney Pearly Gates

From Daddy then... Mommy and Daddy on their honeymoon... Daddy after a recent conference... the B-hive crossing the Disney Pearly Gates for the first time very soon...

...stay tuned....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Smell My Finger

Bryce held up her finger.

"Smell my finger," she said to the Mama.

"No, I'm not going to smell your finger."

Bryce sniffed her own finger and shivered, a comical sour frown in full bloom. 

I laughed. "What's wrong with your finger, honey?" 

"Stinky," Bryce answered, and then immediately went back to playing the iPad Dora Explorer game.

I don't want to know, I thought. I shook my head and yawned. Both the Mama and I were tired and "schloggy" -- schloggy meaning slow-motion foggy heads from being woken up at 11:00 p.m. by Bryce -- and not even because of the pre-New Year's fireworks already popping outside like gunshots.

Maybe that's what woke her up. But it's usually due to the fact that she didn't pee before night-night or she had a bad dream. Whatever the case, this has been a recurring waking "bad dream" for us for months now.

Bryce wakes up, seemingly every other night, comes in our room and then sits and/or squats at the foot of our bed and sighs and cries until we wake up. Sometimes I put her back to bed, but usually it's the Mama who has to get her settled again, which can range from 15 minutes to over an hour depending on Bryce's disposition. 

I can usually go right back to sleep, although it really breaks the normal sleep cycle for both of us, and it's really disruptive for the Mama, bringing the schloggies on full force. Combine that with the fact that both girls wake up really early between 5:30-6:30 a.m. (after 6:00 is rarer).

Bryce's wakefulness has been a pattern for months now. With the exception of last night, this week we were lucky because we had a streak of three nights in a row without interruption, with both girls sleeping sounding until morning. 

We've been told that it's normal neurological toddler development, although Beatrice wasn't nearly as wakeful and is a really good sleeper now. This latest cycle is haunting because Bryce was a nighttime nightmare from about 12 to 18 months old.

It really takes it's toll because we're more wakeful now feeling like she's right there crying and whining.

In our heads. Ack.

This too shall pass, but here we are again, a disruptive ghost of no-sleep past...sigh. We do love our B-hive no matter what.

(As we nod off to the schloggies...)

Here, smell Bryce's finger. Wait. Don't. 

Happy New Year!